Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems

Mediterranean smallholders are not often adopting Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems due to the lack of equipment and crop species suitable for such technique. 4CE-MED project will identify socio-economic and technical barriers and opportunities for the adoption of CA in the Mediterranean basin and try to co-design site-specific tailor-made local solutions across seven different Mediterranean countries including camelina as a cash cover crop considering smallholder farmer and local stakeholder needs.

On the other hand, Agro-climatic conditions, farm equipment and genetic materials in the Mediterranean basin are optimal to use of cash cover crops integrated into CA systems. 4CE-MED project will design effective double cropping systems suitable for different environmental conditions able to decrease soil erosion, increase soil water availability and biodiversity and will provide available technologies at farm level to optimize agronomic management for site-specific systems including camelina as cash cover crop and will identify the most suitable camelina varieties for each local condition across different test environments.

Barriers and opportunities for the adoption of CA in the Mediterranean

However, in the Mediterranean region CA and cash cover crops are not diffused due to the lack of knowledge and short-term profitability but 4CE-MED project will try to demonstrate environmental and economic benefits and the feasibility and convenience of the new 4CE-MED systems training local farmers, farmwomen, students, practitioners about the benefits of the CA systems from an agronomic and economic point of view.

Also, CA systems must ensure sustainable production, accompanied by low environmental footprint and improved environmental performance, able to ensure farmers adequate revenues and social benefits. 4CE-MED project will assess the sustainability of the introduction of camelina as a cash cover crop into existing cropping systems and evaluate the potential effects (economic, environmental, social) of substituting/integrating sole cropping systems, based on cereals with the innovative 4CE-MED systems with a Multi-stakeholder approach and a Robust and science-based analytical framework integrating life cycle thinking methodologies.

Finally, 4CE-MED project will increase Mediterranean farmer awareness regarding the possibility of adopting CA systems specifically designed for different environmental conditions and will disseminate project results engaging local stakeholders through communication activities, in order to bring to the scientific, societal and political arena the potentiality of innovative locally tailor-made 4CE-MED systems.